so, that happened.

there has been a general air of funk-ness around here for the past week or so, and writing anything seems completely uninteresting and depressing.

a couple of weeks ago, a stager contacted our realtor, wanting very much to break into her market and offering to stage our house free of charge, no strings attached, and put a property manager into the home to keep it lit and clean and care for the lawn, etc. our realtor checked all the language in the contract, added and subtracted a few things to make it no-risk for us, and we agreed to let the stager in. we took it off the market for a few days while she added art and furniture and tchotchkes all over the house, then new photos were taken and the house went back up for sale.

that weekend we have a zillion showings.

on sunday, we got two offers and notice that a third was potentially coming.

one of the offers was amazing - perfect - and we accepted. the purchase agreement was signed on monday, and on wednesday the buyers had their inspection

which was done by a structural engineer.

on a house built in 1965.

needless to say, he convinced the buyers that the house was not up to code (duh ... how many times has code changed in 47 years?!) and would likely disintegrate into a fatal hole of horribleness. so the buyers walked.

and when the third party heard the buyers walked because of the inspection, they too hauled ass away from being interested.

sooo ... back to square one. after a year on the market, we still have nothing to show for it.

and we're so done. everyone who looks at the house loves it. feedback is great. there is no one smoking gun reason from any of the showings as to why this house isn't selling.

so i now hate this house beyond all logic and reason, and am kinda praying that god strikes it with lightning and it burns to the ground.

no, i'm not being hyperbolic.

on top of that, while marc was gone for work, the little cat ate two new areas of carpet. no matter what we did to stop him and distract him, he just moved on to a new area. brand new house, brand new carpet, now full of chewed up, shredded spots because little cat was an idiot. the stress of not selling the old house and  of the new house being destroyed by a seven-pound piece of crap cat were too much for me. i packed up little cat and took him back to the pet store from whence he came and walked away. it killed harper for about a day and a half, which killed me (and was even worse because, like everything else in life, i was left to deal with it alone), but she got over it and my carpet will no longer be at the mercy of little cat teeth. granted, it looks like shit in about five different places, but oh well. it's just money, right?

so all of that, plus some other things, led to a really, really bad week last week. we're still stressed out about the house, but have decided that we'll give it until july - hard stop, and then we go the rental route. maybe we'll specifically look for someone who wants to run a meth lab out of the bathroom and cross our fingers that they burn it down for us.

i'll get back to fun stories and pretty pictures soon. i'm working on a list of resources for the new house and will write that up here pretty soon. an amazing about of emails have made their way to me, asking where we got this light or found that sink or what our countertops are, so i feel the need to address that. and maybe i'll even clean the house and post new pix of the place with actual furniture in place.

at least in the rooms that have furniture.

we're still missing quite a few things. because the other house hasn't sold yet. but i already told you about that. so, okay.

adventures with snowflake: day 14 & 15

yesterday, snowflake & gray kitty worked a jigsaw puzzle ...

today we discovered that at some point in the night, snowflake decided to add some sparkle to the garland in the loft window. and it didn't go well. and when gray kitty tried to help, it didn't go well for her, either.

what's that, you say? on day 14 they appear to be sitting on a real piece of furniture? well, yes, indeed. our dining room table finally arrived, after a two month saga. that is still going.

during the process of designing our house, we found the bennett dining table at pottery barn and decided it was exactly almost what we wanted. we (i) wanted something rustic, long & narrow, reclaimed. this was the not-reclaimed version of that vision. but the dimensions were perfect for the space allotted for dining, and fully extended this table will seat 10-12 people, which is what we need. so we decided either we'd find someone who could make a real reclaimed wood table, and i sent out several email queries, or we would, worst case scenario, get the pottery barn one.

around the time we closed on the house, it had become clear that having a table made wasn't in the cards. the people who actually bothered to return my emails were either a) not getting it, or b) out of our budget. so back to pottery barn we went. and the table was marked down. marc and i talked it over and decided to pull the trigger.

three days after discovering the marked down price, we called to order it. as the story of my life goes, the table was, at that point, discontinued and nowhere to be found.


the person i spoke with looked in the computer and told me that there were four tables left. "in the warehouse?" i asked. "in the country," she replied. all four were currently floor models ... three in california, one in arizona.

upside? all were marked down even further.

so i called all four of those stores. one didn't get back to me, one no longer had the table, one was helpful, but said the table wasn't in great condition, and the third - the arizona store - said yes, they have the table and it was only ever used in the window display and it's in good shape and they could get it to us.

if we work it out with ups.

so we called ups with the dimensions and weight, and found a table that size would cost us $1,700 to ship freight.

i threw up a little.

that was more than twice the cost of the table after markdowns!

so trey, the uber-helpful guy at pottery barn in arizona, and i discussed our options and ways around freight charges. then marc was telling me that a friend of ours runs a shipping company, and he could get one of his trucks to get it to us for about $300.


so two mondays ago, the truck went to pick up the table ... and found it wrapped in an unsatisfactory way. (one month of the delay was all about trying to find a box for the darn thing, and ending up with the pottery barn stock guys creating their own box out of other boxes. apparently, 10' long boxes aren't readily available.) three days later, the truck showed up again, said the boxing was now good, and started the trip to minnesota.

monday evening, we got word that the table was in. we had, literally, 90 minutes to get henry to swimming, drive 20 minutes to the warehouse, load the table into my suv, drive 20 minutes home, unload the table, drive back to pick up henry from swimming. and it all worked out perfectly, except that because both seats had to be down, harper had to ride freestyle all the way home. which made me ill, and made her giggle.

but we finally, after two months, had it in our house. marc went to build it and found that one leg had worked itself loose, but it wasn't anything a little wood glue wouldn't fix. then he found he was short two bolts, two nuts, and a 2" piece of dowel. nothing a trip to the hardware store first thing tuesday morning wouldn't fix. just before lunch, and just before leaving on a plane for a business trip, marc had the table ready to go. and it looks perfect in the room.

then i said the fateful words, "lets pull out the leaves to see how it looks fully extended."

um ...

no leaves.

are you kidding me?

that was two days ago. still haven't heard back from trey as to where our leaves are. however, if they are gone, we're up a creek without a table. and we're back to square one. and now we have to somehow get rid of this table that took us two months to get in the first place. because even though it's totally functional without the leaves, we need to seat more than six people. that was the whole friggin' point all along.

(must. control. stress.)

all of this is coming on top of so much other stress and uncertainty, and i'm at the edge. this morning i got up, got the kids off to school, went back to bed to sleep another hour and get rid of a crazy headache, and woke up at 11. i think my body is telling me it's done.

so tonight i will again call trey in arizona and see what he knows. and i will wait for marc to get home from his trip ... his flight has been delayed for the past two hours, so who knows if he'll even get here tonight. and i will go up and referee the fight that seems to have broken out upstairs in the past two minutes. and i will try to keep the big picture in mind and realize that, in the scheme of things, these are not big problems.

slow but steady

i'm not ungrateful. really, i'm not.

i love this house. i'm abundantly aware of how blessed we are. however ...

i'd love to have something to sit on.

when you double your square footage, and leave furniture back at the other house so that it isn't completely empty while trying to find a buyer, you end up with the problem of having an entire floor of a home that is 100% void of furniture.

for the past two weeks, harper has eaten breakfast on the floor. henry and i have eaten it while leaning over the counter. i eat lunch out of one hand while wandering around and unpacking or cleaning or making lists, etc., with the other. dinners we drag down to the basement to sit at our dining room table from the other house, then after dinner we drag it all back upstairs again.

at some point, a plate is going to get dropped on the new carpet. i can feel it.

(we've been eating a lot of white meals.)

rumor has it we'll have a table next week. and chairs about a week after that. and maybe some sofas by thanksgiving.

however, that little expensive truck fiasco two months ago took a bite out of the furniture budget, as does having two mortgages. so things will come together, but they will come together slowly. and i can be patient. really, i can. waiting on furniture is the easy, expected part.

the not so easy part is the still waiting on counter tops for the kitchen and bar in the basement. still waiting for the cabinet maker to come alter the cabinet they built around the washer and dryer because it is too deep and i can't access the whole soap drawer. and now we need a drawer front replaced and repainted because harper disobeyed the other day and i used bad judgment and after washing her feet in the bathroom sink she tried to jump down and her skirt caught on the drawer knob and pulled the drawer totally out and it landed face-down on the tile and split the drawer front in half. and we're still waiting for the fix-it guy from the movers to come fix all the dings and divots the movers put in the walls and banisters, etc. we're waiting on lots of stuff to be finalized.

and i say "we" even though i was on my own last week, on my own this week, on my own next week.

i realize these are first-world problems, and i realized that this house will be amazing, but there is something so inately stressful about everything right now ... all the "unfinished" and "who-knows-when-it-will-be-done"-ness. on top of which i've been busier than expected with photo shoots, and my computer is still not recognizing the file server so i can't actually access these photos. and marc isn't home to fix it. and even when he does get home, he can't do anything to fix it until HIS computers are up and running, and that can't happen until we replace his desk. because the movers broke it. and it's unfixable.

and i'm lonely. and the kids are missing their dad. and when he's home for 48 hours, we're non-stop busy the whole time trying to get done whatever we can in that short amount of time, and "hanging out with the family" isn't making the cut.

this snowballing, domino-effect-ing, can't-do-one-until-we-do-the-other stuff is wearing on me. but i *am* looking at the big picture. i *am* counting my blessings. i *am* aware and appreciative of it all. i *am* getting through and making it work and keeping my keel even. just right now i need to say that the end of my rope is fast approaching. and it needs to be okay. we all have our ropes, they just aren't all the same, right?

suffice it to say, this week was crap.

thankfully, it's over.

but not before dealing with three-plus hours of driving each day to get kids to and from camps, meetings at the house slipped in between trips, pms, marc being gone, my car sounding funky, my car going to the shop, the cat peeing on henry's bed, not having everything i needed to clean the mattress and not being able to get more because of the aforementioned car in the shop and marc being gone, finding out my car needs $4700 of repairs and will be in the shop for a week or so.

and most of that was just on wednesday.

i may or may not have had a breakdown that was five years in the making on wednesday night.

at any rate, this afternoon we drove to the house and saw this:

and this:

and this:

and that (somewhat) (temporarily) made up for all the crappy.

though now that we're within about 40 days of moving, it's getting so hard to go out to the house. it's becoming such an amazing place, and it kills us to turn around and drive away.

(more updates in the month three album.)

now that the stairs are stained, the painters will start in on trim and cabinets next week. walls and exterior should follow.

and i'm sending my camera out to get cleaned. you may have to deal with iphone pix for a week.

unless i have another week like this one, in which case there will be no photos, unless i'm allowed to take my camera into the little padded room.

i'm not sure what the rules are about that.

hello, december.

the past week has flown by and we are all in recovery mode. thanksgiving was fine ... busy. i took a grand total of nine photos the entire weekend.

the table on thanksgiving day ...

the girls, bundled up to play outside ...

(kayla, the visiting hoosier niece/cousin, was so excited to see that we had snow, but didn't totally understand when we told her it was "too cold to play outside" ... wind chill was, i think, 3 degrees. so we wrapped the girls up within an inch of their lives and sent them out. kayla played for quite awhile. harper? she was in within 10 minutes because she was "too hot." that's my little minnesotan.)

and the girls on the day after thanksgiving, sitting with grandpa ...

and there you have it.


in all honesty, at some point i think i would like to try being a GUEST for thanksgiving. november and december are always insanely busy for us and for marc's travel schedule, so by the time we get to thanksgiving and i get through all the cleaning and cooking, on top of kid stuff (and this year i had the added pleasure of a colonoscopy four days before everyone arrived), and the expense i turn a disgusted blind eye to when buying all the food a month before xmas (food we will, inevitably, throw away half of because everyone leaves and then i'm left with the leftovers, and no one in my family will actually EAT leftovers except me, and there's only so much dark meat and stuffing a person can endure.), i find very little joy in thanksgiving. the entire first half of the day is spent in the kitchen, the second half of the day i typically take a nap because the preceding week has worn me out, then friday people usually scatter ... to shop, to watch football, to nap, to whatever ... then everyone leaves saturday. i felt like i never actually sat and relaxed and visted with anyone. and that takes a lot of the joy out of all the cleaning and cooking and money spending.

call me a thanksgiving grinch, i guess. i miss the days of getting to just hang out and laugh and play games and help with dishes, etc. since becoming a grown-up, we've hosted 12 of of the last 14 thanksgivings at our house, and while we love having family here (and, truthfully, what fun is thanksgiving without people to share it with?), i feel like the day and day after go by in a blur, and i somehow missed all of it.

next year? we do nothing. nothing. we sit, the four of us, in the new house and just ... relax. enjoy. be.

i'm looking forward to that.

we've had so many trips this year and spent so much time in indiana that we decided next year, given how hectic and expensive the build and move will be, we aren't going anywhere. we'll be happy to have company come up whenever they'd like once we get settled, but for a change we'll be staying put.

we did go see "tangled" on friday, which was fantastic and magical and aesthetically beautiful. in fact, i think it's my new favorite of the princess movies. it was actually ... feminist. i loved that.

and saturday morning - everyone left. that evening, henry and i went to see the next-to-last harry potter, which was also great. we were totally geeking out when it was over and are on a race to re-read the series before the last movie in july.

and now it's december. true to history and my previous prediction in september, it's already chaos. marc's schedule over the next three weeks is ridiculous. our plans to get a tree keep getting waylaid, and now i'm kicking myself for not sticking to my proclamation that i would. not. decorate. this year. it just bums me out to not get the house in the spirit, but it's just not worth the hassle and aggravation this year.

next year? we do nothing. nothing. just like thanksgiving. we sit in our new house, and just ... relax. enjoy. be.

and i'm looking forward to that, too.

harper and i are starting our december crafts, so i'll be sharing those. today, though? we're chilling. the past three days have been non-stop crazy and we both need a break. and i'm also starting to work on filling in the 365/52 i've missed in the past two months. expect a way oversized post on that soon.

and on we push with december.

the day that, despite best intentions, sucked.

last week i decided the kids and i needed to get out, have some fun, do something different. summer has hit the "drag" stage ... everything is "been there, done that" and nothing holds excitement any longer. so i planned to get everyone up early on thursday and road trip to maiden rock, wisconsin to the rush river produce farm. the entire trip would clock in at just under 90 minutes each way, the weather was forecast to be perfect, and everyone was excited.

wednesday night i realized that i'd slacked on laundry and wasn't sure if anyone had any shorts to wear. unfortunately, everyone's clothes wash in a different load (darks, reds, etc.), so three loads later it was 1 a.m. and i was finally ready for bed. the alarm was set for 7:30 so we could be on the road by 8. of course, harper then woke up at 6:45, excited, and wouldn't leave me alone. so up i got, started getting things around to leave, as i walked through the dining room to put something in my bag, i stepped right in a lukewarm pile of cat vomit. awesome. cleaned that up, cleaned myself up, got the kids around, and decided it would be egg mcmuffins on the way since we were now running a little behind schedule.

i had googled the address for more formal directions than the ones given to me over the phone when i called, so they were all written out and we were ready to go.

an hour and a half into the trip, we were still on highway 10, curving and winding through wisconsin. the directions specified three different "follow the curves," but the road wound around so much i had no idea what actually constituted a "curve."

finally i found the road before the last one, then turned onto the last directed lane ... a gravel road with a dead end sign. and no blueberry picking signs in sight.


a mile later we ended up at a house, which i knew couldn't possibly be right. so back down the gravel lane we went. the kids, by this point, were getting restless. harper hadn't charged her gameboy and it ran out of batteries about 20 minutes prior. our 90 minute trip had just hit the two-hour mark, and i had no idea where the berry place was. i did know that in the town of maiden rock was a landmark little bakery that used berries from rush river in their baked goods, so i told the kids we'd head there, get a snack, use the bathroom, and find out where the berry farm is. we headed the opposite direction on the main road, toward maiden rock, when suddenly we see a sign: blueberries, this way. hallelujah! i turned, and up the road we went.

reaching the top of the hill, we saw the most gorgeous piece of property: a beautiful farm full of flowers and blueberry fields and a red barn and an adorable little white farmhouse with a sky-blue metal roof. (which, perplexingly, i didn't take a single photo of it.)



(the hummingbirds were amazing ... i counted six!)

i parked, the kids got out, we picked up our blueberry baskets and headed out to pick.

all was going well until about 10 minutes in. then harper declared she had to go to the bathroom. i hadn't seen anywhere to go to the bathroom when we were walking in, so i asked her how badly she had to go. "i can hold it" was her answer, so i said we'd spend about 15 more minutes picking, then we'd head to the bakery and clean up and go potty. she said okay. two minutes later i took this photo. does this look like a child who can hold it?

no. i didn't think so either. so i asked her again, how badly do you have to go? i'm fine, she again answered. but she also then said she was done and wanted to go. to which i replied that we spent two hours in the car for less than 10 minutes of picking, and we weren't done yet. and if she really had to go, she needed to tell me and we'd find a place. no, she said, i'm fine.


so we picked for about 10 more minutes, harper alternating between whining about being done and gleefully picking handfuls of little berries, so it was pretty hard to tell just where her little head was.

she finally got downright testy, and i knew it was time to go. we took our bounty (just shy of 3/4 lb of blueberries ... totally worth it.) to the stand, paid $3.00, and took the little basket of berries to the car. i then asked harper, can you hold it until we get to the bakery? she said yes, but was wiggling pretty good. there wasn't a bathroom to be found at the farm, but i did see a sign for a scenic overlook just over the hill. so i grabbed some tissue and told the kids we were going for a walk, and told harper she could just go potty in the field where no one could see her.

that went over really well.

the trek to the top of the hill was fun ... there were little yellow butterflies everywhere, which the kids found really fascinating,

and we saw several butterflies stuck in the web of an industrious black and yellow spider. this thing was just huge and beautiful, and as much as i hate hate hate spiders in my house, in nature they don't really bother me. i know they belong there, and as long as i keep my distance, i can respect them.

we also saw two birds walking down a lane in the field, and we discussed what they might be: cranes, maybe?

anyway, we got to the top, admired the amazing view of lake pepin,

then i told harper, okay ... there's a trailer over there. we'll go behind it, no one will see a thing, and you can go potty. well, you'd have thought i just suggested she eat worms. the whining and wailing and protesting! and on top of that i *knew* she had to go and wouldn't be able to hold it much longer. why would she not just go?! but she didn't, no matter how much i tried to explain that it would be fine. (boys are so much easier at a time like that.)

i finally had to give up hope, so we walked quickly back to the car so we could head into maiden rock and the bakery.

15 minutes later we rounded the curve into maiden rock, i saw the bakery just ahead, and ... closed. for renovations. harper was in full-fledged whine/cry at this point, so i found a burger bar with an open sign (the only building that appeared open in town, and by "town" i mean the four buildings on the main road that look like businesses), we went in to use the bathroom, and then i asked the kids if they wanted lunch. true to form, one said yes, one said no. so i said forget it, we're heading home.

i didn't want to deal with the whiney anymore.

we started the trek home, stopping briefly at the lake pepin scenic overlook so the kids could decompress.

back in the car, i found a more direct way home and we started off. of course, because our day had been awesome so far, we continued with the fun and ended up detoured. half an hour out of our way. the kids were picking on each other and bickering, harper was throwing a fit that her gameboy wasn't charged, they tried to play a look-out-the-window game but that just deteriorated into more fighting. i finally found where the detour connected to the road i'd been trying to reach in the first place, and we pointed home.

ten minutes from our neighborhood, harper suddenly let out a wail: "i have to go potty so, so badly!" really, harper? "badly" like at the farm, when you held it for half an hour? or "badly" like you've had to go for the past 30 minutes but are just telling me now? either way, i said no ... we'll be home in less than 10 minutes and you'll be fine.

well, no. she whined. and whined. and whined. and i was flippin'. fed. up.

we got into the neighborhood, i came to the four-way stop sign and ... yes, my bad ... i looked both ways as i approached the sign, saw no one coming, and opted to slow down and roll through to save myself that 2.7 seconds of whining from harper. as soon as i started to accelerate out of the stop area, i looked to my left and saw a police car coming over the hill.


yup. lights. pulled over.

the policeman gets out, approaches the car, starts to give me trouble about the stop sign. i was mortified because i NEVER roll through a stop, harper's still whining about going to the bathroom, so i tried to explain my dilemma. he finally, apparently, heard harper so he told me to get her home and he would meet me there with my license. well, gee. that's service.

i drive the remaining three blocks, send the kids in, and wait for mr cranky cop. he gets there and starts giving me hell - "i have four kids and you can't tell me there wasn't a bathroom to pull into and blah blah blah." i try to tell him that it had been a crappy day, i couldn't handle the whining anymore, i was only minutes from home and just wanted to Get There, yes i probably should have pulled in somewhere but how did i know if she was really serious when she cries wolf about having to go to the bathroom all. day. long. and ... he told me to stop talking, that i was lucky i didn't have any moving violations or he'd write me a ticket for trying to talk my way out of one. and i just stopped. i wasn't trying to talk my way out of one, i was just so damn frustrated. so i slapped my hand over my mouth, mumbled "sorry" and "thank you," got my license back, went in the house, told the kids to go to their rooms and i did not want to see them for one hour ... then i had a good cry.

why is it that when i try to do something good and fun and different, it blows up in my face? why do i even bother, when all they want to do is stay home and play video games or lay on their bed and read? i could save myself a whole lot of trouble and frustration if i just sat back and let them be.

sometimes parenthood is really, really unrewarding.

on the upside: we had some really yummy blueberry pancakes for dinner that night. so, there was that.


ice dam, that is. actually, dams. plural.


this is not an unusual phenomenon in minnesota, but we've had such un-minnesotan winters the past few years that they just haven't occurred.

it happened once to us, at the old house. we had a bunch of snow and it just never melted. and where there was a little heat loss through the roof, the snow would melt and trickle down toward the gutter line, and then re-freeze there. then it would back up and find little openings, and then when the thaw came, there were streams of dirty water running into our dining room through the cottage windows above the built-in hutch. it was horrifying.

well, deja vu.

the front of our house, from the entry to the bedrooms, is covered with icicles. big, long, nasty ones. and the back of the house, from henry's room to the corner by the sun porch, then on the other side of the sun porch to the garage. there are even icicles coming through the vent in the fascia.

that can't be good.

yesterday i was outside shoveling and saw our old neighbor at his house, scraping at the roof. there was another truck with some sort of generator running and a hose across the yard.

sean came walking over and i asked him what was up. he said the renters in his house called because there was water running in his kitchen through the cupboards. he'd hired a guy to come clean off the roof and get rid of the ice dams before they caused any more trouble. so far, the guy had racked up a $600 bill.

and, apparently, when he met my neighbor, he mentioned that while his ice dams are bad, his neighbor's (ie our house) are worse.

um, no. no no no. does the universe not know we're trying to SAVE money right now???

so sean and i chatted. he went back to scraping and i went back to shoveling. and half an hour later, the doorbell rang and it was the roof cleaner, dropping off his business card.

awesome. but, i guess, necessary. better to spend the money and take care of it now versus gamble and have potentially a far greater disaster when the sun comes out.

on one hand, i'm loving that this is a real winter. loving it. we missed the major snow at christmas ... nearly 2' of the stuff, which would have been amazing to see. but it's been so cold since then that the snow - and the nearly foot of it from before the holidays - has just not melted. add to that the few inches here and there, and then the 9+" we got over the past two days, and we have quite the little pile-up going on. the kids have had so much fun playing in it, i've loved looking at it. however ...

it always seems to snow when marc is traveling. which, really, the odds fall that way anyway given how much he's gone. shoveling has never been a big deal to me; i actually kind of like it. but this year, there is so much of it that the piles on the side of the driveway are about as tall as i am. to lift and throw a shovel full of snow, basically, over my head is getting old. especially the heavy, icy stuff at the end of the driveway where the snow plow pushes all the stuff from the street. today i went out to tackle the fresh 4" and gave up at the curb. i just couldn't lift it up that high.

(marc will be home early afternoon tomorrow, too, so why deprive him of the shoveling fun? i'm a good sharer.)


i was crouching down, but you can see how high the pile is behind me.



it's piled up nicely on the deck, too.


speaking of the deck, someone (ahem ... not mentioning any names ...) didn't catch my memo that the deck furniture needed to be moved under the deck before it snowed.

whatever. at this point, i can't even worry about that anymore.

march is a month away, right?


redirecting my energies ...

first, and certainly foremost:

matt. becca. wyatt. in their kitchen. THEIR KITCHEN!! ie little man is HOME!!!

one day shy of the three-week mark. what a blessing and miracle. he's a strong little guy, and i can't wait to hold him!!!


secondly ... my day.

remember the issues we had with our bathroom remodel? namely, this, this, and this? well, last week i noticed some leaking around the seal of the toilet. not a lot, but more that there should have been. by saturday, it had seeped out a good six inches from the seal. saturday, we called the Contractor From Hell to see if he would come fix it for free, since it was his issue. well, he wasn't home. monday, i called our favorite handywoman, celest (seriously ... if you live in the twin cities: call her!! she's the best!). she said yup and arrived today at 10:30 on. the. dot.

after first expressing her confusion as to why the toilet was sealed with PUTTY (not sealed to the floor, as is code), she then took the toilet off the bolts to discover that it has never actually rested on the wax ring in the past, oh, year. so that brought up some warning flags to her. in checking further, she discovered that one entire bolt - the thing that anchors a toilet to the pipe and thus the floor - was NOT CONNECTED. TO ANYTHING. it had rotted away years ago (no fault of CFH, she pointed out), but CFH actually was aware of the problem enough to, drum roll, putty the thing in place and walk away.


so half of our toilet was just sorta resting on the assumption that bolt #2 would do the job for them both.

bigger annoyance? not something she's qualified to fix, as in, it's gonna need the big plumbing guns.

good grief.

first, the cat. then, my car. now, plumbing.

don't you hate it when you try to do everything right, save up that magical 20% for a down payment, then everything the universe can surprise you with pops up and makes you think you'll never, ever move and will be doomed to spend 160 minutes a day - bare minimum - in a car, schlepping kids, and never ever get a life of your own again?

hate it. i'm so mad right now. just when everything seemed to be going RIGHT with the move/build idea ... this. savings = even farther away.

so, to whip myself even more with this wet noodle of despair, i started flipping through my online folder of kitchen inspiration photos. i can't remember where they all came from so i can't give credit, but as i looked - and as you will soon see - i have a definite "style." no mystery what my future plans for a mythical kitchen will be, eh?

enjoy the eye candy.







Architectural Digest 2

Farm kitchen 1

... all on a smaller scale, and with stainless counter tops, not marble. warm balanced with cool. farmhouse balanced with industrial. clean balanced with splashes of color. what fun that would be.

a girl can dream, i guess. then, wait for the plumber.

i'm not going to whine.

or cry. or bitch. or throw a sarcastic little fit.

i've done enough of that already.

suffice it to say, all the trouble with the cat and then the car ... ? well. cat decided friday to just eat and be fine. $300 down the drain, maybe? car = $3000. can't drive it safely until next week sometime. marc = out of town three days this week, four if he gets trapped in wisconsin's snow storm, and two days next week, leaving me with two kids, a snow storm on the way, no groceries, and a car that is sort of jerry-rigged together until a part comes in next week. today = big steaming pile of crap with a cherry on top. travel plans for xmas? amended to delete four days with family due to external complications, including canceling something of the shower persuasion for my little sister.


why is it every year i look forward to the holiday season, for the spirit and the charity and the family and the quiet ... and every year that christmas spirit gets dragged behind the schoolhouse and has the crap beaten out of it?

i'm letting it go. i'm not going into details. it'll all just make me cry again. but seriously, enough is enough. bring on january and let's just be done with it.

in trying to be a good sport, though, i'll continue with the december daily. it just might be the most ranty, depressing december daily in the history of december dailies.


so much for that.

holiday spirit, that is. a december of peace and joy.


i'm not ready to throw in a "bah humbug," but seriously. we're four days into december and it sucks so far.

our cat, mario, stopped eating much of anything last week. we attributed it to marc buying a new kind of food, lots of chaos getting ready for thanksgiving, changes in the home environment. then mario peed in the laundry room twice (which, sadly, is not a new development), which i chalked up to all the cleaning and rearranging i did in there the previous weekend. mario has always been finicky and touchy, so changes in his world seemed like a logical explanation.

jump to this week: he's not eating at all now, not drinking, sleeping all day. he's not himself. i took him to the doctor on monday ...  six hours and $250 later, we know his blood work is normal, his liver function is normal, his kidneys were slightly off but within normal limits. he received some fluids and an appetite stimulant and sent home.

wednesday, he was still no eating, not taking the meds, not letting us get food into him. another hour and $150 at the vet, and we're no closer to an answer.

so what to do about mario? spend the money we really don't have right now (more on that in a minute) to keep testing? keep watching him and hope it leaves his system? something worse? and if he doesn't get better, how can we leave him alone as much as will be the case over the holidays? and do i really want to make him the responsibility of the 12-year-old cat sitter?

yesterday morning, on top of mario, i was driving out of the neighborhood to get henry to school, and my car didn't stop. at a stop sign. turning onto a four-lane road. my car slid into the path of an oncoming car who, thankfully, had the presence of mind to swerve away from us. my traction control has been getting dodgy for about a year, but we had brake work done, got new tires, figured it was all okay now. apparently not. we had a dusting of snow, so i thought maybe there was some black ice or something and tried to turn on the car's four-wheel drive. it blinked and blinked and blinked ... and never engaged. and the rest of the day it blinked and blinked ... and wouldn't turn off. in the afternoon, when it was time to pick up henry, i got in the car, the light was still blinking, and i tried to back out of the driveway. as soon as i started to turn, the wheels locked up and i couldn't go anywhere. i couldn't drive, marc was on a conference call, so i had to call henry's school and tell them to hold him until we could get there. sigh.

marc took his call on the road and got the kid, and i called the dealer, explained the situation with the car, and that evening when marc got home we took it in. prognosis? something in my front alignment is screwy, the part won't get here until monday afternoon, it may *also* be anti-lock brake-related, and so far the estimate is $800.

so far.


so the cat is sick. i'm without a car until monday night or later. marc leaves for wisconsin for several days on monday. not sure how i'll get kids to and fro. and the money ... three weeks before xmas ... and we still don't have a diagnosis for what's buggin' the cat.

holiday cheer, my ass.

so far my december daily entries are as follows:

harper decorated her tree, and the holiday spirit is among us.

mario starts dragging the holiday season downhill.

then my car kicks us over the edge.

IMG_9551 upside? henry won a life-sized greg heffley cut-out at school yesterday and decorated him for the holiday season.

his excitement over that, and his creativity getting the wimpy kid all holiday-ed up, remind me that it's the little things that make the season bright.

we just need to focus on the little things. the big things are too big right now.